Ognissanti, Florence

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The nave of Ognissanti
Saint Jerome in his Study, fresco by Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1480

The Chiesa di San Salvatore di Ognissanti or more simply chiesa di Ognissanti (All-Saints Church),[1] is a Franciscan church in Florence, Italy. Founded by the lay order of the Umiliati, the church was dedicated to all the saints and martyrs, known and unknown.

It was completed during the 1250s, but almost completely rebuilt on Baroque designs of Bartolomeo Pettirossi, about 1627, with a façade - by Matteo Nigetti (1637)[2] - that conserved the grand glazed terracotta lunette in the manner of the Della Robbia, now attributed to Benedetto Buglioni, over the doorway: Ognissanti was among the first examples of Baroque architecture to penetrate this Renaissance city. Its two orders of pilasters enclose niches and windows with fantastical cornices. To the left of the façade is a campanile of 13th and 14th century construction.

The Umiliati, by the dedication and probity of the lay brothers and sisters, gained a reputation in Florence, and dedicated works of art began to accumulate in their severely simple church. Giotto's celebrated Madonna and Child with angels, now in the Uffizi, was painted for the high altar, about 1310, and recently, cleaning has also revealed Giotto's hand in the Crucifix in the left transept.[3] During the sixteenth century the Umiliati declined in energy, and the Franciscan order assumed control of the church in 1571, bringing precious relics such as the robe Saint Francis of Assisi wore.

In the interior, the Baroque remodelling provided a completely rebuilt apse with a pietre dure high altar[4] and a sotto in su perspective (1770) on the vaulted nave ceiling. Fifteenth-century frescoes by Domenico Ghirlandaio and Sandro Botticelli are also preserved in the nave; Botticelli is buried in the church[5] near his beloved Simonetta Vespucci. Botticelli's fresco of Saint Augustine in His Study corresponds to Ghirlandaio's St. Jerome in His Study in the chapel facing it across the nave; both were executed in 1480. Ghirlandaio also frescoed a Last Supper in the refectory between the two cloisters, a work with which Leonardo was intimately familiar.

In the Vespucci chapel, a fresco by Domenico Ghirlandaio with his brother David (about 1472), of the Madonna della Misericordia protecting members of the Vespucci family, is reputed to include the portrait of Amerigo Vespucci as a child. When Amergigo found a bay in the actual Brazil, he named to "San Salvatore di Ognissanti", in portugues "San Salvador de Todos os Santos": this is the origin of the name of the city of Salvador and Bahia de Todos os Santos.[6]

Over the door to the sacristy is a crucifix in wood by Veit Stoss.


  1. ^ It gives its name to the borgo, one of the traditional divisions of Florence.
  2. ^ It was restored in 1872.
  3. ^ The paintings on panels, always considered noteworthy (starred in Touring Club Italiano, Firenze e dintorni, 1964:313) had been considered a work of Giotto's followers ("scuola giottesca" in TCI, Firenze e dintorni); see also (BBC News) "Giotto's Ognissanti Crucifix brought back to life": accessed 5 November 2010.
  4. ^ Built to a design by Jacopo Ligorio
  5. ^ A small round stone in a chapel of the right transept marks his resting-place
  6. ^ Piero Bargellini, Ennio Guarnieri, Le strade di Firenze, 4 voll., Firenze, Bonechi, 1977-1978, II, 1977, pp. 337-340.


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Coordinates: 43°46′21″N 11°14′44″E / 43.772608°N 11.245520°E / 43.772608; 11.245520